What's On

Most companies' management and human resource managers, invariably, are facing the same problem: how to formulate and implement policies, measures and contract terms to effectively deal with tricky and controversial human resource issues? With a lack of legislation around these controversies, we have to resort to case law in our common law system as our legal guidance. This course draws on landmark court cases to examine and provide guidance on how to devise effective policies and measures in tackling sensitive and contentious human resource issues, which turn out to protect employers' rights more comprehensively and further reduce the potential legal risks faced by the employers.

The speaker will elaborate more than 18 samples of relevant policies/ clauses for reference in order to aid the implementation of legal and enforceable human resource policies by the participants.

1. Contentious policy 1: Formulating sick leave policy to prevent sick leave abuse, and dealing with employees with chronic physical and mental illness
• Under current sick leave policies, an employee is entitled to full average daily wages without any cap even if such employee took out a sick leave for 1 day. Whether it is possible for employers to legally tighten such entitlement by limiting the maximum number of paid sickness days or by restricting paid sickness days to no more than 4 consecutive days and daily rate of sickness allowance to 4/5 of the average daily wages
• Whether it is possible to arrange for designated doctors to obtain more specific information about the health conditions and detailed medical history of employees who are continually calling in sick
• Landmark cases on how to formulate relevant human resource policies without contravening the law, including the anti-discrimination ordinances

2. Contentious policy 2: Human resource policies to effectively handle suspicious work-related injuries cases, and habits of doctor-shopping to continuously take out sick leave for work-related injuries
• When faced with suspicious work-related injuries cases, and habits of doctor-shopping to continuously take out sick leave for work-related injuries, how should human resource managers formulate policy to address the relevant risks
• Recent court cases held that employers are entitled to strike out employees' compensation claim when such employees fail to attend arranged medical consultations without reasonable excuse
• Sample employees' handbook clauses and relevant measures will be included for reference

3. Contentious policy 3: Reasonable grounds for employers to refuse employees who suffered work-related injuries to return to work, and the controversies surrounding the implementation of relevant policies
• Case law also held that in the event of an employee having lost work capacity, the employer is legally entitled to terminate such employee's employment on the ground of frustration of contract. The burden of proof is on the employer. Speaker will provide relevant policies and guidance on how to handle this issue

4. Contentious policy 4: How to ensure discretional monthly/annual bonus/commission do not become contractual/guaranteed bonus/commission
• Case law shows how human resource managers may devise genuine "discretionary" bonuses/commissions within the legal definition
• Case law also shows the legal risks caused by improper handling of relevant policies

5. Contentious policy 5: Human resource policies on compensation for employees working overtime/off days/make-up leave or no make-up leave
• The Court of Appeal ruled in one case that for employment contracts stipulating for 2 rest days, Saturdays or one of the weekdays can be set as "regular holiday". After working on a "regular holiday", the employer may choose not to make up for leave. Will provide contract terms and relevant rules on how to draft the above
• Employees may "voluntarily" agree to work on rest days, and employers are not required to make up for leave. Will advise on how to formulate policies to avoid legal proceedings
• Contract terms and policy rulebooks will be included for reference

6. Contentious policy 6: Dispute over whether employers can refuse to make up for leave after senior employees went on business trips or worked overtime on weekdays (Court of Final Appeal decision)
• The Court of Final Appeal allows insertion of contract terms stipulating that senior/professional ranking employees are not to be paid/made up for leave for overtime work
• Contract terms will be included for reference

7. Contentious policy 7: Based on Springboard Injunction Contractual Terms to stop senior staff to encourage a group of quality staff to resign collectively and join competitors
• What is Springboard Benefits and Injunction? How can an employer adopt the contractual terms of Springboard Injunction to limit senior staff to motivate a group of quality staff to join the competitors?
• How to control senior staff and resigned staff to sue confidential information on their new employers/ competitors?
• Implications of related springboard court cases in Hong Kong to the employers
• Contractual terms and clauses in staff handbook will be included for reference

8. Contentious policy 8: Work-from-home policy guidance (comprehensive policy guidance)
• How the policy can protect the employers' position and legal rights under Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282) and Occupational Safety and Health Ordinance (Cap. 509)
• How the policy deal with relevant legal risks, including discrimination and personal data protection

9. Contentious policy 9: Disputes over employees' transfer arrangements/change of workplace arrangements
• Whether an employee is entitled to refuse any transfer arrangement relating to job position, work/branch location, albeit employment contract has clauses providing for flexible transfer arrangements
• Case law held that the legal grounds for an employer to carry out transfer arrangements include the fact that the nature of the contract has not changed, the employer has acted reasonably, and has not violated the mutual trust under the employment contract. Will advise on how to formulate relevant transfer policies in compliance with the law
• Rules and sample contracts will be included for reference

10. Contentious policy 10: Disputes over whether employers may deduct employees' salary on the basis of lateness
• Deduction of salary is a strict liability offence (personal negligence, lack of legal common sense, and lack of criminal intent are not valid defenses) and attracts criminal liability
• Can being late be considered as absence from work? What is the general definition of absence from work according to case law?
• Case law has different guidelines on salary deductions for employees who are late depending on whether they are on monthly pay or piece work pay or hourly pay. How should human resource formulate contract policies that comply with the laws and regulations?
• How should human resource formulate relevant measures to avoid criminal liability?

11. Contentious policy 11: Clause on cancellation of contractual annual leave to avoid violation of the law and to better protect the rights and interests of employers (Court of Final Appeal decision)
• The Court of Final Appeal has reached a decision on the cancellation of "contractual annual leave", ruling that employers can legally cancel it. But what about the disputes over the remaining grey areas, including whether annual leave taken by an employee constitutes statutory holiday or contractual annual leave?
• According to the case law, what are the common illegal cancellation clauses?
• Employees' handbook clauses and contract terms will be included for reference

12. Contentious policy 12: Formulation of an equal employment policy that can be used for discrimination complaints and court litigation to protect employers from legal liabilities (Total 15 pages legal document which can be statutory defence in case of any complaints)
• According to section 46 of the Discrimination Ordinance, "employers shall be liable for the illegal acts committed by employees during their employment, unless the employer can prove that the employer has taken reasonable and feasible measures to prevent its employees from doing the relevant things"
• Will advise on how to formulate an equal employment policy that can be used for complaints or court litigation to avoid transfer of liability
• Important sample policy provisions will be attached for reference

13. Contentious policy 13: Employee Mental Health Policy to cope with number of litigations on employees' mental health is increasing
• How can the corporate support employees with mental health illness, to embody employers' legal responsibilities of "duty of care" and "reasonably prudent"
• How to ensure relevant employees are free from disability harassment and vilification

14. Contentious Policy 14: When the employee wishes to withdraw his/her resignation due to work injury or pregnancy after he/she submits the resignation notice, and within the notice period
• According to case law and legislations, if the employer has confirmed the employee's resignation, the employer has the statutory right to decide whether to accept withdrawal of the resignation. How should relevant policies be formulated?

15. Contentious policy 15: Disputes over overlapping holidays for lack of statutory provisions resulting in grey areas
• While company sick leave allowance is for 4 consecutive sickness days and at a daily rate of 4/5 of the average daily wages, pursuant to the Employment Ordinance. If an employee takes paid sick leave for 4 consecutive days from Friday to Monday, should the allowance be 4/5 or full salary on Saturday and Sunday?
• Is any legal liability for an employer to pay staff with paid rest day during unpaid sick leave period?
• Speaker will examine case law and on how to formulate relevant measures

16. Contentious policy 16: Disputes over unpaid leave policy
• Disputes over unpaid leave include: how to ensure "voluntary" taking of leave, whether unpaid leave is counted as an employee's seniority; for several days of unpaid leave such as Monday to Wednesday, whether Saturday and Sunday rest days should be paid; for long period of unpaid leave such as 3 months, what should be the arrangement for relevant annual leave, rest day, statutory holidays and contractual bonus?

17. Contentious policy 17: Effective social media policy to protect the rights of employers
• How the court examines disputes over employees giving personal remarks on personal social media accounts/occasions
• Will advise on how to formulate social media policies that effectively protect the rights and interests of employers

18. Contentious Policy 18: Reminder of legal liability to resigned/terminated employees
• How should the human resource department issue legally binding reminder letter to the employee who resigned, including such employee's duty of confidentiality regarding the company's business secrets, the prohibition of storing (including mobile phones) the company's confidential information, and the legal duty to not delete any information stored in the company's computer
• Sample reminder letter will be demonstrated

(Note: For any references to sample policies, clauses, and contract terms, only English version will be provided.)

Coronavirus Containment Measure:
- To prevent the spread of Covid-19, we kindly ask that all event participants wear a mask when attending the event.
- Attendees, who feel unwell are advised against in-person attendance at the Chamber. If attendees are required to undergo compulsory testing, please bring along a negative PCR or RAT test result when attending physically.
- Food and beverages will not be provided during the event.
- All visitors are required to undergo body temperature checks and sanitize hands at the entrance.

Speakers' presentations at this event are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed during this event are those of the speakers and participants and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, its members, or its committees. The Chamber does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented. Attendees should note that, with the approval of speakers, this event may be recorded, and possibly published on the Chamber's website in audio and/or video formats without further notice.

Recording, duplication or distribution of the contents of the online event is prohibited without prior written permission from the Chamber.


Raymond Fung, Principal Consultant, Strategic Consulting Ltd

Raymond Fung has implemented various human resources management projects for over 290 US, European and Mainland corporate clients in the past 23 years. He has assisted clients in handling a large number of human resources disputes and litigations with their legal teams in the Labour Tribunal, District Court and High Court, supported by his deep understanding of the law concerning human resources. Raymond has conducted over 300 public seminars on human resources related laws in the past 23 years. He has taught in many enterprises, local and overseas universities, tertiary institutions and professional organizations. He has trained more than 82,000 managerial staff and professionals, and is a three-time winner of the Award for Excellence in Training and Development. Raymond graduated from two prestigious universities in the UK and holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Relations, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He was the Director of Training, Director of Human Resources, and General Manager of listed companies, and possesses extensive experience in human resources and corporate management.

Language Cantonese
Date and Time 2023/02/23 09:30 to 17:30
Venue Chamber Theatre, 22/F United Centre
Media Closed to media
Enquiries Cathy Chan
Tel: 2823 1282
Fee Members @ HK$1,800 / Non-Members @ HK$2,300
+$50 for booking offline
Members enjoy 30% discount with BOC HKGCC VISA Card
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